Islamic State group takes responsibility for Spain attack

Police officers tell members of the public to leave the scene in a street in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Police in the northern Spanish city of Barcelona say a white van has jumped the sidewalk in the city's historic Las Ramblas district, injuring several people. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – The Latest on the van that ran into a crowd in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas district (all times local):

9:40 p.m.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the van attack in Barcelona that officials say killed 12 people and injured many others.

A statement carried by the extremist group’s media arm – the Aamaq news agency – says Thursday’s attack was carried out by “soldiers of the Islamic State.”

It says the attack was in response to IS calls for its followers to target countries participating in the coalition trying to drive the extremist group from Syria and Iraq.

The statement provided no further details about the attackers.

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9:25 p.m.

The police force for Spain’s Catalonia region says a car knocked down two police officers at a traffic checkpoint in Barcelona.

The Mossos d’Esquadra force did not indicate if the incident was related to the van attack in the city’s Las Ramblas district on Thursday that left 12 people dead and dozens injured.

Barcelona police later said in a tweet that the car and its driver were intercepted about 10 kilometers (6 miles) outside of the downtown area where the original attack happened.

Local media reports said a white Ford Focus ran over the officers and that a person from the car was shot and killed by regional troopers.

Neither the city nor regional police have said whether a suspect was shot.

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This item has been corrected to show that it was local media, not police, sayinga supect had been shot and killed after two officers were knocked over at a checkpoint.

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9:15 p.m.

The president of Spain’s Catalonia region says police have arrested two people in the van attack in Barcelona’s bustling Las Ramblas district.

Carles Puigdemont also gave updated casualty figures during a brief news conference Thursday night.

Puigdemont says 12 people are confirmed dead and at least 80 have been hospitalized since the van jumped a sidewalk and swerved through a busy pedestrian area.

The region’s interior minister had tweeted earlier that 13 people had died in the attack.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau says a moment of silence will be held in the city’s main square at noon Friday “to show that we are not scared and we are more united that ever.”

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9:00 p.m.

Spain’s royal palace has condemned the deadly van attack in Barcelona, calling the perpetrators “assassins, simply criminals who will not terrorize us.”

A speeding van struck pedestrians in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas district, killing at least 13 people and injuring more than 50 others.

The royal palace’s statement, which was posted on Twitter, also said that “All of Spain is Barcelona. Las Ramblas will once again be for all.”

In a separate tweet, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that “the terrorists will never destroy a united people who love liberty over barbarism. All of Spain is with the victims and families.”

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8:55 p.m.

Pope Francis is praying for the victims of the Barcelona van attack and expressing his closeness to their families.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke says the Argentine pope was “greatly worried” about Thursday’s attack and is following developments closely.

The Vatican has greatly increased security for Francis’ public events to prevent similar truck assaults on crowds that throng to his weekly audiences and Sunday blessings in St. Peter’s Square.

The main boulevard leading to the piazza has been closed to traffic for well over a year.

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8:50 p.m.

Britain’s prime minister says that the “the U.K. stands with Spain against terror” following the van attack in Barcelona that killed at least 13 people and injured dozens of others.

Theresa May condemned the “terrible” attack in which a speeding van struck pedestrians in Las Ramblas. The attack in Barcelona comes after similar vehicle attacks in London this year.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, meanwhile, said it was “with profound sorrow and anguish that I have learnt of the terrorist attack that has struck at the heart of Barcelona this afternoon.”

He added: “This cowardly attack has deliberately targeted those enjoying life and sharing time with family and friends. We will never be cowed by such barbarism.”

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8:40 p.m.

France’s president and the mayors of Paris and Nice are among the French dignitaries offering support for Barcelona after a deadly van attack.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted Thursday evening: “All my thoughts and solidarity from France for the victims of the tragic attack in Barcelona. We will remain united and determined.”

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, whose Mediterranean city lost 86 people in a truck attack during a Bastille Day fireworks display a little more than a year ago, announced that a special homage to Barcelona’s victims would be held Friday.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a Spanish native whose city has faced multiple Islamic extremist attacks in recent years, expressed her “sadness and indignation.”

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8:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump is condemning what Spanish authorities say is a deadly terrorist attack in Barcelona.

Trump also says in a statement on Twitter that the U.S. will do “whatever is necessary to help.” Trump tells Spain: “Be tough & strong, we love you!”

The White House has said Trump – who is on a working vacation at his private golf club in New Jersey – is being updated on developments by chief of staff John Kelly.

Trump’s wife, first lady Melania Trump, tweeted her “thoughts and prayers” to Barcelona before the president.

At least 13 people were killed and at least 50 injured after a van was driven onto a sidewalk and down a pedestrian zone in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district.

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8:25 p.m.

A regional government official in Spain says 13 people have been killed in the van attack at a historic shopping and tourist area of Barcelona.

Catalan Interior Minister official Joaquim Forn also said on Twitter that more than 50 people were injured during Thursday’s attack.

Regional police now are evacuating stores and bars in the Las Ramblas district.

The move came right after police announced they had arrested one suspect and were “treating him as a terrorist.”

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8:20 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has offered assistance to authorities in Spain as they investigate the van attack that left at least one person dead in Barcelona.

Speaking to reporters at the State Department shortly after a van plowed into a crowd, Tillerson said the incident “has the hallmarks of what appears to be yet another terrorist attack.”

He says U.S. diplomats in Spain are currently assisting Americans there and asked those who are safe to notify friends and families.

Tillerson says the United States would never relent in tracking down terrorist suspects and holding them to account for their actions.

He said “terrorists around the world should know that the United States and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice.”

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8:15 p.m.

The police force for Spain’s Catalonia region says it has arrested a man in the Barcelona van attack and is “treating him as a terrorist.”

The police force announced the arrest on Twitter Thursday evening.

It denied earlier media reports that officers had a suspect surrounded in a bar.

The tweet said: “There is nobody held up in any bar in the center of Barcelona. We have arrested one man and we are treating him as a terrorist.”

Meanwhile, the region’s interior minister is calling on residents to remain indoors and avoid unnecessary travel while the investigation continues.

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8:00 p.m.

Spain’s public broadcaster says a suspect in the Barcelona van attack has been arrested.

State-owned broadcaster RTVE reported Thursday night that a man was detained a few hours after a van drove into crowds in the popular Las Ramblas district.

Police have not confirmed an arrest.

A private Spanish news agency, Europa Press, reported that police were looking for a man named Driss Oukabir. The news agency says he was suspected of having rented a van connected to the attack.

It wasn’t clear if that person is the man who was arrested.

RTVE says investigators think two vans were used – one for the attack and a second as a getaway vehicle.

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6:30 p.m.

A Barcelona broadcaster is reporting that a man thought to be the driver of a van that drove into pedestrians is held up in a bar that is surrounded by police.

Barcelona’s Tv3: also reported Thursday that the Spanish passport of a person of Moroccan origin was found at the scene of the attack that police say has left at least one person dead.

The television station says police have surrounded a bar called Rey de Istanbul.

Police haven’t confirmed they have a suspect cornered. Barcelona’s El Pais newspaper reported earlier that police were seeking more than one suspect in an unnamed bar.

Meanwhile, a regional government official says all public festivities scheduled in Barcelona are temporarily canceled.

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6:10 p.m.

A government official in Barcelona says one person has been confirmed dead and 32 others injured in the van attack in the city’s historic Las Ramblas district.

Catalonia’s regional interior chief Joaquim Forn said during a news conference on Thursday: “Unfortunately the number of fatalities will likely rise.”

Media in Barcelona are reporting that up to 13 died in the attack.

Barcelona police said on Twitter that 10 of the 32 people injured were seriously hurt.

A van mounted a sidewalk in the popular tourist area of Las Ramblas, slamming into a crowd of pedestrians on Thursday afternoon.

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7:05 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump has been alerted to the unfolding situation in Barcelona.

Chief of staff John Kelly is aware of the developments and is keeping the president informed.

Trump is on a working vacation at his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. His wife, first lady Melania Trump, sent her “thoughts and prayers” to Barcelona via Twitter.

Police in Spain have confirmed fatalities after a van slammed into pedestrians in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district.

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6:53 p.m.

Police in Spain have confirmed they are investigating the van incident in Barcelona as a terror attack, while local media reports say that up to 13 people have been killed.

A van slammed into pedestrians on Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, which is normally packed at the height of the summer tourist season.

Catalan police said: “We confirm the terrorist attack. The protocol for terrorist attacks has been activated.”

Media outlets, including Cadena SER radio station and TV3, are reporting up to 13 dead. Other reports had varying death tolls.

An official death toll has not been issued.

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6:35 p.m.

Barcelona resident Keith Fleming says he was watching television in his building on a side street just off Las Ramblas when he heard a noise and went out to the balcony to investigate.

He says he saw “women and children just running and they looked terrified.” Fleming heard a bang, possibly from someone rolling down a store shutter, as more people raced by.

The American living in the Spanish city says police arrived and pushed everyone a full block down the street. He says the officers still are there with guns drawn and riot police stationed at the end of the block.

His street now is deserted.

Fleming says: “It’s just kind of a tense situation….”Clearly, people were scared.”

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6:30 p.m.

Police in Spain have confirmed there are fatalities after a van slammed into pedestrians in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district.

Catalan police tweeted that “there are mortal victims and injured from the crash” without specifying numbers. The Barcelona-based La Vanguardia newspaper is reporting at least one dead and 20 injured.

A van jumped the sidewalk in Barcelona’s iconic Las Ramblas area, slamming into pedestrians. At least five were seen lying on the ground on the popular tourist street.

El Pais newspaper, citing unnamed police sources, says the two perpetrators are holed up in a bar in central Barcelona. Various local media reports have called it a terror attack, but authorities haven’t officially confirmed it.

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6:20 p.m.

Spain’s El Pais newspaper says that Barcelona police are treating the van crash as a terror attack.

Authorities say a van mounted a sidewalk in the iconic Las Ramblas area of Barcelona, slamming into a crowd of pedestrians. Local media reports say there are several injured.

El Pais newspaper, citing unnamed police sources, also reported that the perpetrators are holed up in a nearby bar. Some local media have reported bursts of gunfire.

Barcelona police, in a tweet, told people to stay away from the center of the city because of a “large contingent of security forces and emergency services” deployed in the area.

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6:10 p.m.

Spain’s El Pais newspaper, citing police sources, says the two perpetrators of the van crash in Barcelona are holed up in a bar.

A van mounted a sidewalk in the popular tourist area of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, slamming into a crowd of pedestrians. Local media say several people have been injured in the crash.

Barcelona police, in a tweet, told people to stay away from the center of the city because of a “large contingent of security forces and emergency services” deployed in the area.

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5:45 p.m.

A white van jumped the sidewalk in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district on Thursday, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said.

In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street of the northern Spanish city Thursday afternoon, apparently being helped by police and others. Videos of the scene recorded people screaming as they fled.

Police cordoned off the broad, popular street, ordering stores and nearby Metro and train stations to close. They asked people to stay away from the area so as not to get in the way of emergency services. A helicopter hovered over the scene.

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5:40 p.m.

Police in the northern Spanish city of Barcelona say a white van has jumped the sidewalk in the city’s historic Las Ramblas district, injuring several people.

In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street Thursday afternoon and were apparently being helped by police and others.

Police cordoned off the broad street and shut down its stores. They asked people to stay away from the area so as not to get in the way of the emergency services. A helicopter hovered over the scene.

Las Ramblas, a street of stalls and shops that cuts through the center of Barcelona, is one of the city’s top tourist destinations. People walk down a wide, pedestrianized path in the center of the street, but cars can travel on either side.

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5: 35 p.m.

Police in the northern Spanish city of Barcelona say a white van has jumped the sidewalk in the city’s historic Las Ramblas district.

They say on their Twitter account that several people are possibly injured.

In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street and were apparently being helped by police and others.

Police cordoned off the broad street and shut down its stores

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5:30 p.m.

Police in the northern Spanish city of Barcelona say a white van has jumped the sidewalk in the city’s historic Las Ramblas district.

Police say on their Twitter account there are possibly several injured.

The El Pais newspaper said several people were left lying on the ground. Police cordoned off the street and shut down its stores.

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